Bingeing on makeup tutorials might be something you do in your free time, but Claire Fontanetta is making a living in the ever-growing world of beauty. Today she's sharing her swift entry into the world of beauty as well as advice she would give for interns looking to break into the industry. Enjoy!
Instagram Handle: @claire_fonta
Location: New York City
Occupation: Assistant Beauty Editor, Marie Claire
University: Colorado State University
Secretly Obsessed With: New York Pilates (I practically live there)
On My Nightstand: Fresh flowers and Gabrielle Bernstein’s new book, The Universe Has Your Back (highly recommended!)
Last Thing You Read: I’ve always had such an entrepreneurial spirit, so #Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso was a must-read.
How did you get started?
When I was an undergrad at Colorado State University, I always thought I’d go into the fashion industry. Little did I know that this amazing world of beauty even existed! I flew out to NYC literally one day after graduation, briefly worked for a fashion PR agency, then landed an internship in the Marie Claire beauty department. I interned in the beauty closet for close to 6 months before they hired me on full time as the beauty assistant. Then a couple of years later I got promoted to the position I am today.
What key elements played into your success?
I truly believe that if I hadn’t been so persistent, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I just kept at it, interning full time 5-days per week for over 6 months. I knew that beauty was where I wanted to be, so I worked so hard to make sure my supervisors noticed. And sure enough, eventually the entry level position opened up and I was the first person they thought of to hire on.
What what's your favorite part of your day?
I love attending market appointments and new product launches/events. Even though there are a million beauty products out on the market (you should see our beauty closet!), it’s so interesting to see that there’s still room for innovation in the industry.
What struggles did you face getting to this point?
Interning can be tough, especially if it’s an unpaid one and you’re living in an expensive city like NYC, but I learned to make it work. My solution was to work two side jobs and settle for a cheap studio apartment in East Williamsburg (before it was cool, mind you).
Who was the biggest influence in your professional life?
It’s hard to name only one person, but I’ve been so lucky to have a support system of people who really believe in me and who teach me so much every day. Someone once told me that once you stop learning, it’s time to find another job, but I can honestly say that I learn something new every single day, and I can thank our amazing team of some of the most talented women for that.
When do you feel most successful?
It might sound weird, but I always feel the most successful when I have a full day of appointments and meetings. I hate being bored—and get major FOMO when I’m not working on anything—so I always try to stay busy.
What advice would you give to girls looking to enter your industry/space?
Start writing asap! Even if you’re still in college (or a recent grad), it’s always beneficial to have some published clips to show during an interview. Start a blog, actively pitch story ideas to websites, or even get involved in your school newspaper/magazine—it’ll pay off in the long run.
What’s the best piece of advice you received?
Never let them see you sweat. Even if you don’t really know how to do something, do your research and try to figure it out yourself. Being resourceful is super important when you’re a journalist… Google is practically my best friend!
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Writing stories that empower women.
What advice do you have for women who want to pursue a career in media and beauty?
Intern as much as possible, and network, network, network! Editors are usually pretty open to meeting for an informational interview over a quick coffee.